Spag bol, Harry Potter and Eurovision: the secret superpowers that make us unmatched

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As part of our unmatched campaign, which is designed to help businesses harness the strengths that separate them from their competitors, we’ve turned the spotlight on our own team to reveal their own secret superpowers.

As we’ve written elsewhere, everybody is unmatched at something.  Read on, and you’ll find out who at Nielsen McAllister owns a Gringott’s vault load of Harry Potter memorabilia, who makes the best spag bol and lots more besides.

Rhiannon’s communication superpower

‘But whyyy?’ – Rhiannon Hopper, asking ‘why’ since she first learnt to speak.

Despite making my parents’ ears bleed from my excessive curiosity, if I have one, the ability to ask a thought-provoking question is probably my unmatched talent.

I’m just interested in people.

I love listening to a someone else’s story, hearing about their life experiences and background, and learning from them. To be able to connect with someone over something we have in common, or spark a discussion over an existential thought or conspiracy theory – for me is a real *chef’s kiss moment* 😙👌

Simon K’s word count superpower

Most of the things I’m unmatched at are pretty useless in daily life. I mean, I have an encyclopaedic recall of the production codes assigned by the BBC to each Doctor Who story, but I can’t say it’s helped me much in my career. I didn’t even use that knowledge that time I wrote for Doctor Who Magazine, and they’re probably the only people who’d care.

However, one advantage of writing for magazines is that I know how much space 100 words (or 500 words, or 1,000 words) takes up when typeset into a publication layout. As a result, I’ve developed the ability to look at any block of text and make a reasonably accurate assessment of its word count.

This might not seem like a big deal, but it’s very useful when writing copy to fit existing designs. Whether it’s for a white paper or a customer email, I can quickly determine how many words are needed, and write them to order.

Molly’s Potter superpower

Let me set the scene for you. I was 14 years old, dressed in full Hogwarts robes, wand in hand. Everyone around me was gushing in awe at my incomprehensible amount of Harry Potter knowledge.

Not only did I win at every single Harry Potter trivia quiz that I did, I started running them. Nobody wanted to compete against me anymore. I was unbeaten.

I was coined the ‘Harry Potter girl’ for most of my teenage life. I would finish reading the last book, and immediately pick up the first one again. The bullying was worth it.

Every Christmas, birthday, special occasion, my gifts were Harry Potter. My collection of memorabilia is so immense that I used to put it on display every year at school for other kids to marvel at. I was a God of the Kirk Hallam Academy school library. I had my own table.

Even now, the staircase up to my bedroom has my ‘Diagon Alley’ road sign hanging with great pride.

Ask me anything – I have an entire portion of my brain dedicated to The Boy Who Lived.

Molly's Diagon Alley sign

Bob’s Eurovision superpower

I am at an age when any credibility that I might have had has long gone the same way as my flared Brutus jeans and Raleigh Chopper bike. Nevertheless, I still feel that I need to provide some context before revealing my unmatched skill. Therefore –

  1. There were only three television channels then.
  2. While it could never have been considered a serious competition, the event to which I am referring had not at this point become the camp, overblown karaoke-fest it is today.
  3. Although the period of my expertise takes me from single figures through my teens, I stopped watching the show at around 13 – firstly because I went to boarding school and then because I discovered much better things to do on a Saturday night. Nevertheless, a sense of patriotism – because the UK actually stood a chance of winning in those days – kept up my interest in the result for a few more years.

By now, nearly everyone will realise that I am referring to the Eurovision Song Contest. And my ‘expertise’? I can name every winner and every UK entry from 1967 to 1981.

Actually, that’s not strictly true. I remember the song and the country that pipped our Cliff to the top spot in 1968 (the result of a dastardly plot by General Franco apparently) but not the singer.

I also struggle to name the four joint winners in 1969, but one of them was the UK with Lulu singing Boom Bang a Bang (the ultimate Eurovision song title, surely, although Ding-a-Dong from the Netherlands’ Teach-In – winners in 1975 – is a close second).

However, these lapses are compensated by the fact that in 1974, the top four songs in the contest all made the UK Top Ten – and I can name every one of them!

Wendy’s culinary superpower

I don’t have the time. I never have the energy and I always tell people that I’m a rubbish cook. But there’s one exception – my scrummy spaghetti bolognese.

I have no idea why I can master this dish but we (and I mean my hubby and two teenage sons) love it!

I don’t add carrots, celery or mushrooms as I’m not a huge fan. It’s a standard dish, with limited ingredients, but it’s definitely the best thing that comes out of my kitchen!

And when I’m feeling particularly proud of my culinary talents, I save a serving for my mum – who, might I add, is a whizz at cooking.

Richard’s varied superpowers

It’s not exactly a superpower, but my ability to regard myself as unmatched at pretty much anything is right up there in respect of personal talents.

More often than not, the struggle to make sure that I am not actually the worst in the world at most things occupies much of my waking hours, so finding anything that I am half decent at is a test.

So (apart, clearly from crazy golf) the list of my talents is as short as it is uninspiring and non-work related.

My wife claims I am either a savant or a cheat at Wordl.

I’m one of the best spelling/grammar pedants I know.

My ability to be in the slowest lane of traffic, irrespective of the time of day, destination or location is unrivalled.

I am the only human I know who has a genuine negative quotient of capability in the field of cooking or diy.

There, I think that’s enough.

Simon W’s blogging superpower

Unmatched. Now there’s a statement. Particularly if you try and apply it to yourself, after all it’s not a British trait is it, blowing one’s own trumpet. In fact, when attempting to answer the question to name something I’m unmatched at I struggle. But perhaps that’s because I consider myself more as a jack-of-all-trades and a master of… (I’ll let you finish).

So, what’s my answer? Well, perhaps it’s my love of a to-do list and my ability to multi-task, juggling work across our diverse range of clients and ensuring our fantastic team delivers the Unmatched PR and communications they deserve. Or perhaps it’s a focus on quality content or the need to stay calm in a crisis. Who can tell? No, it’s none of those, it’s simply my ability to refer to my previous blogs when set with the challenge of writing a few sentences. An Unmatched skill indeed!

Now you know what we’re all unmatched at, it’s time to read our free playbook, How to Become Unmatched – and reveal your own secret superpower.


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